The following is a link to the agenda for the July 26, 2017 City Council meeting: https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-wednesday-july-26-2017/. The key items are a resolution on the Council’s goals and priorities for the Police Department in the context of hiring a new Chief, and a discussion on selecting a development partner for the New Hampshire Avenue Recreation Center. In addition, there will be votes on a contract for a Police Chief search firm and on a collective bargaining agreement for City Police officers. We’ll also be voting on several items considered non-controversial, which will be grouped into a single “Consent Agenda” vote.
This will be the last Council meeting this summer – our next formal meeting will be on Wednesday, September 6. Of course, I’ll continue to provide updates and other communications as appropriate between now and then, and Ward One residents should feel free to contact me as needed.
Coffee with the Mayor on July 28. As part of the series of Community Coffees with Mayor Stewart, I’m delighted that she and I will be meeting with residents on Friday, July 28 from 8:00 – 9:30 AM at the Takoma Beverage Company, located at 6917 Laurel Avenue, next to the Post Office. Everyone is welcome to attend, listen to neighbors’ comments and ask questions of their own. Plus, it will be great opportunity for those who haven’t yet had the chance, to check out one of Takoma Park’s newest businesses. I hope to see you there.
City Manager Report from Last Week’s City Council Meeting. City Manager Suzanne Ludlow provided several important updates about municipal matters last week, as follows.
Takoma Junction Redevelopment. Last week, the City received a request from Junction developer NDC for an extension on completing one of the main tasks of the Development Agreement - submittal of the site plan - which the City Manager signed off on. The reason for the request was two-fold: 1) with the termination of letter of intent negotiations with the Co-op, NDC is revisiting space configurations for the first floor space, and 2) NDC has entered into a purchase agreement with the owner of the Takoma Auto Clinic property, which will provide new possibilities in terms of space and layout. The extension will add approximately six months to the originally accepted completion date, meaning the project is now expected to be completed in late 2020. An update in the Council on what this means for the project and the presentation of a final concept site plan will be scheduled for September. This is obviously a significant piece of news, and one on which I’ll be particularly interested in receiving community reaction going forward.
Solar Lighting Pilot Project. The City has been given a new opportunity for a pilot project showcasing solar lighting technology. The pilot project came through County Council member Tom Hucker's office, and is in partnership with two firms based in South Korea, UNO and KCIT. The pilot will involve, at no cost to the CIty, two solar streetlights and several crosswalk lights. The lights have a new driver technology that improves upon the traditional solar streetlight system. The lights will not need to tie into any electricity source and will be powered entirely by the built-in solar panels on the light poles. The location for the streetlight fixture would be in front of the Community Center at the beginning of the footbridge. The crosswalk lights will be on Maple and Grant, illuminating the crosswalks.
Openings on Resident Communities. Serving as a member of a City resident committee is an excellent way of learning about municipal affairs and making positive contributions to the community. Indeed, a number of current and former Councilmembers got their starts as committee members! Last week the City Manager presented a chart and descriptive list of all the committees with details on vacancies (thanks to City Clerk Jessie Carpenter for compiling this information). I encourage those who may be interested in joining a committee to review the list, and in particular to take a look at those where the Ward One representation could be stronger. I’m happy to talk with anyone who has questions. You can find the list by paging down to the third page of the following link: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2017/cm-comments/cm-comments-20170719.pdf
Police Resolution. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2017/council-20172607-1.pdf. I mentioned in my update for last week’s meeting that I’m generally supportive of this resolution, but that I am interested in seeing if we can add more specific language that emphasizes the importance of outreach to residents who have been victims of crimes. We’ll be voting on the resolution this week, and I’ll be pursuing changes along those lines as we move toward the vote.
Police Chief Search Contract. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2017/council-20172607-2.pdf. The City received six responses from executive search firms qualified to conduct the Police Chief search. We’ll be voting on a contract for the firm selected by City staff. I'll be voting in favor of the contract.
Collective Bargaining Agreement. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2017/council-20172607-3.pdf. I look forward to the presentation by City staff.
Consent Agenda. I support the following five items, which, as noted, will be grouped into one vote.
New Hampshire Avenue Redevelopment. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2017/council-20172607-5.pdf. This will be a Council discussion – with a final vote most likely taking place in the fall – on the four submissions we have received from development groups that are interested in working with the City on the Recreation Center project.
Please be in touch with questions or comments about any of the items mentioned in this email.
Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Councilmember, Ward One